Closing Veterans Affairs offices and replacing them with online services will not work for many people, according to a P.E.I. veteran.

The federal government announced with the recent budget, it would close several district offices, including the one in Charlottetown. The district offices provide front-line service, including counselling on which services are available for veterans.

"These are the front line people who deal with us, who understand our problems," said Bill Henry.

Henry spent 35 years as a combat arms officer in the military, serving as a peacekeeper in the Middle East.

"To close this office is kind of a shock to a lot of people and it is going to have an effect, a major effect upon veterans on the Island," he said.

Union officials said so far about half the staff at the district office received their notices.

The government is moving towards providing services online, but that won't work for veterans who don't use a computer, Henry pointed out.

The federal government has a responsibility and duty to provide direct, in-person service, said Henry. 

The cuts will not impact services to veterans, according to representatives of Veterans Affairs, in a statement to CBC News Monday afternoon.

"Some offices across the country may grow bigger while others may get smaller. Veterans will continue to receive services and home visits from Veterans Affairs staff," said Jean-Christophe de le Rue, spokesman for Veterans Affairs Minister Steven Blaney.

"There will be no reductions in our case managers who provide care and support to veterans in greatest need. Our government will continue to ensure our nation’s heroes receive the best possible care."



  • An earlier version of this story misidentified Veterans Affairs Minister Steven Blaney.
    Apr 30, 2012 8:38 PM AT